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Only one of the following sentences is grammatically correct. Which one is it?

A. He recommended her to continue her education.

B. He recommended she continues her education.

C. He recommended she continued her education.

D. He recommended she continue her education.

and please explain the reason why.

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A's marked infinitive to continue is becoming acceptable in informal registers, on the analogy of told her to continue, but is generally deprecated in formal registers.

B's inflected finite form continues is accepted in BrE, at least in journalistic contexts, but the complementizer that is rarely omitted with this.

C's finite past form, continued, is not employed: recommended can only take a subsequent action as its complement.

D, with the 'mandative subjunctive' (uninflected base form of the verb) continue, is preferred in AmE and is returning to use in BrE.

  • My personal answer is A, how can you get into D without "that"? I understand the reason for choosing D is because of subjunctive usage, but how can that be the real answer without putting "that" after "recommended"? Could you also explain what do you mean by AmE and BrE? thanks. – johnsmith44 Jul 14 '17 at 8:48
  • @johnsmith44 That is rarely obligatory, though it helps parsing by 'signalling' a following subordinate clause. With 'subjunctive' there is less risk of misapprehension. AmE is US English, BrE is British English. – StoneyB Jul 14 '17 at 10:27
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It is D. Try putting the word "that" after recommended, and it helps. In a construction like this, the subjunctive is necessary. In the other choices, the use of the present and past tense of "continue" makes these constructions grammatically inappropriate.

  • My personal answer is A , My objection for not choosing D an answer was because the sentences did not have - like you said - "that" after "recommended" . But my question to you is how can you justify choosing D over A as the correct answer? – johnsmith44 Jul 14 '17 at 8:50

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